It’s a fact: drugs are winning. We have spent millions, if not
billions, on a futile attempt to stop the illegal drug trade. Yet, most
people would agree with the statement that we are losing the war on
illegal drugs. In fact, many would go so far as to proclaim we have
lost the war. The availability of illegal drugs keeps growing as any
kind of illegal drug can be purchased, bartered, or stolen on the
streets of any city, town or hamlet in the USA.
The illegal drug trade is a huge industry keeping organized crime
financially fit and keeping hundreds of thousands of drug dealers and
users off the welfare rolls. However, when the drug consumers, usually
referred to as drug users, can’t get their “fix,” they resort to illegal
behavior, which too often is violent and leads to an increase in
But Americans seem always to be looking for a quick fix to their
problems. We are bombarded with commercials that suggest if a
particular product is used; everything in our lives will be better. The
product could be as banal as toilet paper or as exciting as Viagra.
Somehow we quickly grasp the cause and effect concept when the
outcome is positive, but we fail to understand that many times the
product doesn’t work as advertised or can even work in an adverse
This week Representative Penn Pfiffner, R-Lakewood, chaired a group
of Colorado legislators, who held a hearing on the possible relationship
between psychotropic medications and school violence. The hearing
coincides with a resolution before the Colorado Board of Education to
forbid “schools from making parents put disruptive children on
Representative Pfiffner in an exclusive interview with WorldNetDaily
said that he held the hearing so that he and the other legislators, who
are not physicians but who have been affected by the Columbine tragedy,
can begin understanding some possible causes of youth violence. He is
searching for answers to two basic questions: 1) “Are the right issues
being addressed when looking for solutions to school violence?” and 2)
“What has changed in the last couple of decades with regard to kids and
“I started running across articles that said we should examine the
coincidence between violence and the use of psychotropic medications,
and as a legislator I wanted to ensure that all the issues were being
addressed. I also wanted to know if the Colorado legislature should
debate the use of such drugs?” stated Pfiffner.
Among the witnesses at the hearing was Dr. Wiseman, president of the
Citizens Commission on Human Rights, a Church of Scientology group. He
linked the use of Ritalin-type medications with the alleged perpetrators
of the school shooting incidents in Pearl, Miss.; Paducah, Ky.;
Jonesboro, Ark.; and Springfield, Ore. In addition, Dr. Peter Breggin,
a doctor and psychiatrist from Washington, D.C., testified that he had
information that Eric Harris, one of the two killers at Columbine High
School, was taking Luvox, which can cause “psychotic mania” in about 4
percent of patients.
Dr. Mary Ann Block, a family practitioner, who became a physician as
a result of her daughter being given Ritalin, also testified. She, like
many others, does not ignore the fact that Ritalin can help in some
cases, but also believes that it is over-prescribed.
In addition, Dr. Marshall Thomas appeared on behalf of the Colorado
Behavioral Health Care. He was concerned that some of the information
presented was “not balanced” and skewed. He noted that some depressed
children could become manic, but he believes the violent behavior is not
caused by medication.
Yet, no one can be positive about the reactions of different people
to drugs. There are too many variables: genetic make-up, interaction
with other drugs or with food, or even issues concerning the person’s
environment. Every parent with more than one child has discovered how
much their children differ one from the other. Why should any of us be
surprised when reactions differ markedly from patient to patient?
Representative Pfiffner should be commended for his courage to
address a highly contentious issue. Unfortunately, Chuck Green, in his
Denver Post column of Nov. 10 entitled,
“Hearing more like a
circus,” ridiculed him
and the hearing. You can be assured that pharmaceutical companies and
others with a vested interest in these drugs will attack him as well.
The Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
(CHADD) has scheduled a press conference to discuss medical treatment
for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder on Nov. 17 in Washington,
Many people have concluded that aberrant violent behavior occurring
when some people take psychotropic drugs such as Ritalin, Luvox and
Prozac is more than coincidence. Why is it that very few legislators or
members of the medical community have examined this problem?
We are losing the war on illegal drugs because the financial
interests of organized crime as well as the small drug dealers are
immense. Is it the same with prescription drugs? Or are we just
looking for a quick fix?